The increasing demand for low-cost mobile communication systems has greatly expanded the need for simulation algorithms that are both efficient and accurate when applied to RF communication circuits.
RF circuits have several unique characteristics that are barriers to the application of traditional circuit simulation techniques. Over the last decade, researchers have developed many special purpose algorithms that overcome these barriers to provide practical simulation for RF circuits, often by exploiting the very characteristic that represented the barrier to traditional methods.
Despite dramatic progress, the average design cycle of an RFIC is still twice the length of that for other ICs found in a communication system, such as a cellular phone. This represents a significant practical barrier to integration of the RF and baseband sections of a transceiver onto a single chip. Clearly, more progress is necessary.
The principles employed in the development of modern RF simulators are introduced and various techniques currently in use, or expected to be in use in the next few years, are surveyed. Several open problems are identified.